Hambletonian hopeful Chulo made a misstep in his most recent outing May 28 at The Meadowlands, but trainer Per Engblom is looking for the colt to rebound in the second of Friday’s two $30,000 eliminations of the Goodtimes Stakes for three-year-old trotters at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
Chulo, who topped the April 25 Preferred Equine Online Mixed Sale when he sold for $178,000, won last year’s $150,000 Next Generation Trot for two-year-old Ohio-sired colts and geldings while trained by Engblom. After a switch to another trainer in the offseason, he was purchased by Engblom Stable LLC and Chulo Partners in the online auction.
In his 2022 debut, Chulo finished third in a division of the Ohio Sire Stakes, then missed by a nose in a conditioned event for three-year-old male trotters at The Meadowlands. Returning to that class on May 28, Chulo started from post 10 and was ninth through the opening quarter-mile before going off stride on the backstretch.
“We tried to race him from behind and he just got a little overexcited when they slammed the brakes up front,” said Engblom, who planned several equipment changes, including Chulo’s driving bit, for the Goodtimes.
“The first two starts he was very good for us and then he just made a little mistake. But I think he’s pretty good. He won a couple of stakes races for us [last year] and his first start back here now he was third in the sire stakes in Ohio. He was just beat at the wire in an overnight at The Meadowlands after that. I think he’ll have a good year.”
For his career, Chulo (What The Hill-Chula) has hit the board in five of 10 races, winning two. He has earned $116,535.
Chulo and driver Yannick Gingras will start their Goodtimes elimination from post six and are 10-1 on the morning line.
“He’s strong,” said Engblom. “He’s more of a strong horse than a fast horse, really, but he can carry his speed quite a bit.”
Engblom also sends out a starter, Senna, in the first Goodtimes split. Senna, named after late Formula One racing champion Ayrton Senna, had a fourth and a second in the preliminary legs of the New Jersey Sire Stakes before finishing seventh in the final. For the year, he has won one of five starts.
Senna (Trixton-Conwayslassie) is not eligible to the Hambletonian. For his career, he has won two of 16 races and earned $58,321 for owners Engblom Stable LLC and Douglas Sipple. He starts his elimination from post two and is also 10-1 on the morning line, with David Miller in the sulky.
“He was really good in the elimination rounds of the sire stakes, then he just got away way too far back in the final, but he finished up OK,” said Engblom. “He changed a lot [from last year]. Last year, he was too short against the best ones. Now he’s already trotted :52 this year, so I think he’ll have a decent year.
“He’s got plenty of races, just not the Hambo.”
Eleven Hambletonian-eligible male trotters, including three of the 10 in the “Road to the Hambletonian” rankings, will be in action in Friday’s Goodtimes eliminations.
A total of 19 horses will compete in the eliminations, which are races five and seven on Mohawk’s 10-race card. Racing begins at 7 p.m. EDT. The top five finishers from each Goodtimes elim advance to the $251,000 final, which will be on Pepsi North America Cup Night, June 18, at Mohawk.
The second Goodtimes elimination features eight Hambletonian-eligible trotters in the nine-horse field. The only horse not eligible to August’s $1 million Hambletonian at The Meadowlands is the 2-1 morning-line favourite, Twin B Archie. Trained by co-owner Scott McEneny, Twin B Archie was an Ontario Sire Stakes champ last year and last month won the SBOA Stakes.
Looks Like Moni, who is No. 6 in the Hambletonian Top 10 compiled by Meadowlands Racetrack analyst/announcer Ken Warkentin, is the 5-2 second choice. So far this year, Looks Like Moni has finished fourth in the New Jersey Sire Stakes championship after posting a win and a second in the prelims for trainer Nancy Takter.
The first Goodtimes division is led by New Jersey Sire Stakes champion Pretender and last year’s Valley Victory Stakes winner Fast As The Wind, who are ranked second and eighth, respectively, in the “Road to the Hambletonian.”
Pretender, who has won three of four races this season, also is from the Takter Stable and is the 2-1 morning-line favourite. Fast As The Wind, who has started twice this year for trainer Tony Alagna, heads to his Goodtimes elim off a second-place finish by a nose to older warhorse JL Cruze, the earner of $1.73 million lifetime, in a conditioned event at The Meadowlands. He is 5-2.
To view Friday's harness racing entries, click on the following link: Friday Entries - Woodbine Mohawk Park.